AZ XC Athlete Spotlight 2020: Gilbert Olivas Jr.

Cactus senior, Gilbert Olivas Jr is ranked #1 in Division III right now. He is also ranked as the #4 senior boy in all of Arizona, and the #4 ranked boy runner in Arizona overall.

Gilbert took the time to answer some questions for us about himself and the season thus far - here are his responses:

What are your XC goals for this season?

Sub 15:15 and D3 state champion

What has been the strangest thing about training for XC during the pandemic?

I switched from practicing from 3 pm to 5 am so that the switch took some time to get used to.

Who is your toughest competition?

Justin Pace from Sunrise Mountain. He's been my rival since middle school and every year we have close PRs.

How are you liking racing in these waves at meets this season?

It is so much better because you don't get boxed in as easily. Last year at twilight I was boxed in for the first half mile compared to this year I wasn't boxed in at all.

What is the biggest difference you in racing last year to this year?
I had a bad season in 2019 because of my poor mental strength. This year it has improved a lot more and I feel like I can stick with some of the fastest kids in the state

Who is your biggest fan/supporter? How do he/she/they show you this support?

My mom without a doubt! Even with her autoimmune posing a challenge, she shows up to every single one of my meets and I love her for that

How was your summer training affected by Covid this summer? What was similar from previous years? What was different about it?

My summer training was delayed by a few weeks due to a broken toe. During the summer I trained with my teammate Alex Murphy but for speed days I would run with Randy Espinoza and Austin Clayton. Running with top runners like them was a great way to boost my mental strength so I'm thankful that Austin invited me out there.

How long have you been running? What do you enjoy most about running/xc?

I've been running since 4th grade but started taking it seriously in my sophomore year. The thing I enjoy most has to be the peacefulness that comes with it. Even though the cramps, wheezing, and aches I will always consider running my happy place.

Is there a song, movie, show, or saying that motivates you or keeps you focused on your goals? If yes, what is it and why?

This quote by Les Brown, "you gotta be hungry" is short and simple, but reminds me why I work so hard for my goals and continue to stay focused on my running.

What's your pre-race meal?

2 slices of toast with peanut butter and a banana.

Do you have any superstitions before the night of a race? (Any clothing you have to wear? Song you have to listen to? Food you need to eat? Etc.) If yes, how did this start?

I don't have superstitions; however, I am very regimented on how I prepare for a race the night before. I always get acupunctures before my races and I meditate right before going to bed. I started my sophomore year when I noticed that I performed better when I completed my routine.

Anything else you wish to share with us that you think is important for our readers to know? 

I would like to thank Coach Levan for providing me with the blueprints and Alex Murphy for pushing me throughout practice